Scenario: Attacked On The Trail

This is a discussion on Scenario: Attacked On The Trail within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This is a scenario that really happened here in Payson, Arizona several months ago. I don't have an update on what has happened to date ...

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Thread: Scenario: Attacked On The Trail

  1. #1
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    Scenario: Attacked On The Trail

    This is a scenario that really happened here in Payson, Arizona several months ago. I don't have an update on what has happened to date but I will post it if I read any more about it.

    You are hiking on a trail through the timber in a mountainous area. Although it is "in the boonies" civilization is close. You have a CCW permit and are armed with a pistol in a fanny pack you are wearing. As you are hiking, two large dogs (on of them a Chow) come running around the bend, coming straight at you. You are convinced by the mannerisms of the dogs that you ARE in danger. Knowing the damage a large dog can do, much less two of them, you draw your weapon from your fanny pack and shoot the larger of the two, the Chow. He hits the ground immediately; the other dog turns abruptly and runs in the direction from which he came. At this point, a wild, unkempt and enraged man comes running around the bend of the trail straight for you. He is screaming that he is "going to kill you". You draw (or just raise) your weapon and fire one shot, killing the man.

    Were you justified? What did you do right? What did you do wrong?

    Since I am going to be out of town for a couple of days and can't follow up, I will tell you that it turned out that the man killed was a "transient" who walked dogs, as an oddjob, for the local animal shelter.
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    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.

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    Member Array silvercorvette's Avatar
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    Did you yell stop first? Did he have any weapon, rock, stick Ect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by silvercorvette
    Did you yell stop first? Did he have any weapon, rock, stick Ect?
    Good question, I think I remember hearing the guy had a "stick" in his hand. They didn't say whether he ordered the guy to stop, not sure whether an assumption that he did would be correct.

    The point that sticks in my head is that this guy obviously knows you have a weapon since you just shot the dog and had to be seriously out of control to charge an armed man.
    Bumper
    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.

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    Member Array silvercorvette's Avatar
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    It all depends on distance, would he have had enough time to yell stop and get off the shot with out putting himself in danger. It is probably a good shoot regardless of if he yelled stop or not. You don’t have to let the guy hit you over the head before you shoot him. If you are afraid your life is in danger you have the right to protect your self.

  6. #5
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    This is the shooting Bumper

    Tempers flare at trail-shooting hearing

    By LARRY HENDRICKS
    Sun Staff Reporter
    01/26/2005


    The courtroom battle took up where the legal motions left off.
    With voices rising and tempers flaring, both sides in the Harold Fish trail-shooting case had to be admonished by the judge Tuesday to tone down the rhetoric.

    Fish has been indicted for second-degree murder in the May 11 shooting of Grant Kuenzli, who allegedly charged at Fish after Fish fired a warning shot to scatter Kuenzli's charging dogs.

    Fish has pleaded innocent, claiming self-defense. The defense wants the case sent back to the grand jury, alleging prosecutorial "misconduct."

    Defense attorney A. Melvin McDonald called it the "most blatant abuse of the grand jury process ever" in his 35 years as an attorney.

    Deputy Coconino County attorney Michael Lessler took issue with the characterization, at one point describing a McDonald tactic as "unethical."

    That brought a reminder to both parties from Superior Court Judge Mark Moran to be "more respectful" of each other and the court.

    'ERROR AFTER ERROR'

    McDonald opened the hearing by contending the grand jury proceeding was filled with "error after error."

    Even so, he said, the grand jury


    only narrowly indicted his client.

    "Their one-sided presentation, they were not able to sway one-third of the jurors," McDonald said.

    Among the issues McDonald cited were: The prosecution had not told the grand jury that Kuenzli was armed with a screwdriver; The prosecution focused on Fish's martial arts training 25 years earlier as an option to shooting, which wasn't; The prosecution didn't correctly instruct jurors on self-defense training; The prosecution glossed over the aggressiveness of the dogs involved; The prosecution led jurors to believe that Kuenzli did not approach Fish at full bore, but at a walk or a lope.

    Each issue alone clearly would require sending the case back to a grand jury, McDonald said.

    "Let's give them the truth and what really happened," McDonald said.

    POINT-BY-POINT REBUTTAL

    Lessler, intent on wanting "to tone down emotion and tune up the logic," jabbed at each issue, point by point.


    The screwdriver was not in Kuenzli's hand; Fish could have told jurors that his martial arts training was no longer an option; The laws governing self-defense were covered, not what police and weapons training courses teach; All relevant information about the dogs was disclosed; The tracker who quantified Kuenzli's speed to Fish clarified his initial estimate.

    Lessler said that the purpose of a grand jury is not to determine innocence or guilt, but to determine if there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that the accused might have committed the crime.

    Even so, Fish was given every opportunity to express his version of the case. He was allowed to testify at the proceeding, which is uncommon.

    The problem was not with the grand jury proceedings, Lessler said. The problem was with answers Fish gave to some critical questions.

    The likely clincher for the grand jurors, Lessler said, was that when Fish was asked why he did not wound Kuenzli, Fish responded that wounding a person would open him up to a lawsuit.

    Therefore, Lessler said, Fish killed Kuenzli to avoid a lawsuit.

    Fish stretched his credibility, Lessler added. He stonewalled on his knowledge of guns and gave an "incredulous" answer as to why he didn't shoot to wound.

    "He wants a 'do over," Lessler said. "And he doesn't get one ... In short, this was more than fair.

    MENTAL RECORDS SOUGHT

    Attorneys also argued a motion filed by McDonald seeking mental health records of Kuenzli in order to make a psychological profile of the man to determine why Kuenzli did what he did on the day of the murder. Several accounts of past contacts Kuenzli had with people appeared to demonstrate bizarre and confrontational behavior, especially when it concerned his dog, Maggie.

    Lessler argued several points as to why the records are irrelevant at trial and need not be turned over to the defense. Foremost was that the law makes evidence about a victim's prior bad acts irrelevant if the defendant and the victim never met prior. Fish had never meet Kuenzli prior to the meeting at the trailhead.

    Fish, a 57-year-old retired schoolteacher, was present, along with his wife and a few supporters.

    After arguments were presented, Judge Mark Moran decided to take some time before rendering a decision. He has up to 60 days to do so by law.

    McDonald said after the hearing that, depending on how the judge ruled, the defense was ready to proceed. They either go back to the grand jury if the county attorney decides to submit the case again, or they head on track for trial, for which they've been preparing.

    "We have a battle plan, but the battle plan is secret," McDonald said.

    Lessler said that he would not speculate on what the judge's ruling would be or what would happen next.


    Larry Hendricks can be reached at lhendricks@azdailysun.com or 556-2262.

  7. #6
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    Sounds like a justified shoot. Seems The shooter needs a better lawyer to coach him on answering the questions in a better way.

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    Fish responded that wounding a person would open him up to a lawsuit.
    Rule #1...SHUT UP!!!! Make no statement without presence of legal council, a miss statement like this is going to cost this guy dearly, even if acquitted the legal bills will be massive. Say "I am too distraught to think clearly at this time and I want my lawyer".

    Rule #2...You neither shoot to kill nor wound; you shoot to stop the attack and defend yourself, and you shot until the attack ceased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F350
    Rule #1...SHUT UP!!!! Make no statement without presence of legal council, a miss statement like this is going to cost this guy dearly, even if acquitted the legal bills will be massive. Say "I am too distraught to think clearly at this time and I want my lawyer".

    Rule #2...You neither shoot to kill nor wound; you shoot to stop the attack and defend yourself, and you shot until the attack ceased.
    Actually that was Fish's grand jury testimony. So his lawyer did a poor job getting him ready for it.

    -Scott-

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    I completely agree to rules # 1 & 2 except that I would add to rule #1 to keep muttering the phrase "I WAS IN FEAR FOR MY LIFE" over and over and over again....
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExSoldier762
    I completely agree to rules # 1 & 2 except that I would add to rule #1 to keep muttering the phrase "I WAS IN FEAR FOR MY LIFE" over and over and over again....
    Don't put on a crazy act unless you are a real good actor it will show. Robert Black is a profesional actor and his act didn'y go over wrll. Be real if you put on an act the police will know and you will look worst for acting like you are ib shock.

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    There was no information about Harold Fish and his knowledge about dogs or if he feared them. I believe that would have an effect on his response seeing a dog coming at him. If every dog was feared in his eyes then yes he would shoot first to stop the animal. A person running at you after killing his pet in my mind is a normal show of emotion. I didn't catch the point if Fish showed his gun or not to stop or slow the guy down. I don't know the law of course but shooting every guy that runs at you don't seem like the right thing to do each time! I sure would not run at a guy with a gun and yes I would be very frightened at someone running right at me for any reason. Once the decision is made by you that your life is in danger there is no shoot to wound, it is shoot to stop the threat on your life.
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    May the splinters never point the wrong way.
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    You misunderstand me. I'm not saying to put on a crazy act. There is only ONE reason for a valid self defense shooting: YOU or ANOTHER you have standing to protect are in imminent FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE. Period. It's a sort of defensive "mantra" if you will. All I'm saying is ask for counsel and say nothing other than to stay ON MESSAGE. You fired because you were in fear for your life. Don't act crazy (even if you are) don't say or do anything. In this situation, neither the cops or the prosecutors are your friends. They are adversaries. Depending on the jurisdiction they may well be looking for info (even incidental info) that will aid them in building a case against you as standard procedure.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    The reason I said that was that every time the topic comes up on forums a few people talk about going into some kind of big act and going over the top with a big act. In my opinion if someone sits and mutters
    (QUOTE) "I WAS IN FEAR FOR MY LIFE" over and over and over again....” that will lead the cops to be a bit skeptical. If you are involved in a Good shoot the evidence will speak for itself but if you try to embellish or go over the top with your emotions the cops may begin to wonder why you are over reacting. If you ever do shoot someone you probably be so traumatized you won’t have to put on any kind of an act. Just be real because any attempt to over react will be seen through .I am just trying to point out not to over dramatize. It is great to stay on point and say you were in fear for your life. But (not accusing you in particular) mumbling over and over he was going to kill me while rocking back and forth in the chair with a spaced out look on your face in an attempt to appear to be in shock isn’t a good idea. Also try not to antagonize the police by saying “I ain’t saying nothing without a lawyer”. It is much better to be polite and courteous and say I am very upset right now I almost had someone kill me, may I please talk to a lawyer”. Once you say the magic words I want to have a lawyer the police can no longer talk to you. Anything that they ask you can not be used in court.

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    Well would i have shot or not ..Since im a highly untrained at hand to hand with bad back repair man Most likely i would have... Why most likely well kind of ya would of had to be there thing ..


    Now as to what Fish said this guy must be a retard i didnt wound him so i couldnt be sued... Almost sounds like a case for murder 1 ... You could argue he had premedated to kill someone with that statment..

    As to wh didnt you wound the guy i shoot to stop the threat

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    ~~~~~~~~~if you try to embellish or go over the top with your emotions the cops may begin to wonder why you are over reacting. If you ever do shoot someone you probably be so traumatized you won’t have to put on any kind of an act.~~~~~~~~~

    Which is it? Either you're falsely overreacting or you're a traumatized pup. I used to carry a badge for a living, and I know how both cops and prosecutors (in my area) think. I agree to be courteous and polite and not nasty, but remember they're not on your side (at least around here).

    I personally think that the only way I'm going to be in shock is if an innocent bystander or a family member of mine is hurt in the exchange. At least immediately post incident. Later on I'll get the shakes. At least that's my track record in high stress, emergency or life threatening situations.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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